This report captures the lockdown experiences of over 5000 families who responded to our online survey. The findings highlight the lack of support for families and the inequalities of babies’ early experiences.
The evidence is unequivocal that the first 1,001 days of a child’s life, from conception to age two, lay the foundations for a happy and healthy life. Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23rd March and 4th July. The Parent-Infant Foundation, together with Best Beginnings and Home-Start UK, conducted a survey of families’ experiences of lockdown during their babies’ first 1001 days, the findings of which suggest that the impact of lockdown on some of these babies could be severe and may be long-lasting.
- The report describes the findings of an online survey of 5,474 expectant mothers, new parents and parents of toddlers, undertaken during the pandemic. It shows that:
- Almost 7 in 10 found their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby had been impacted as a result of COVID-19
- Nearly 7 in 10 felt the changes brought about by COVID-19 were affecting their unborn baby, baby or young child (with an increase in crying, tantrums and becoming more clingy). This was felt most sharply amongst parents under 25 years old and those on the lowest incomes
One quarter (25%) of parents reported concern about their relationship with their baby and one third of these (35%) would like to get help with this.
In the report, we make three policy calls for the UK Government:
- A one-off Baby Boost to enable local services to support families who have had a baby during or close to lockdown.
- A new Parent-Infant Premium providing new funding for local commissioners, targeted at improving outcomes for the most vulnerable children.
- Significant and sustained investment in core funding to support families from conception to age two and beyond, including in statutory services, charities and community groups.
We also call for action in the devolved nations to achieve similar goals, but recognise that the existing funding, structures and services in the devolved administrations vary and therefore the exact proposals below may need adjustment to work well in each devolved nation.